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What is the DAT?

October 29, 2012
Dental Admissions Test Preview
What is the DAT?

The Dental Admission Test (DAT) is a multiple-choice standardized exam taken by potential dental school students in the United States and Canada (although there is a separate Canadian version with a differing carving section for the PAT, both American and Canadian versions are usually interchangeably accepted in both countries’ dental schools. This article will specifically describe the American DAT). As stated by the ADA, “Its purpose is to measure the general academic ability, comprehension of scientific information and perceptual ability of test takers.

The DAT is a computer based test that can be administered almost any day of the year. Tests are taken at Prometric testing centers throughout the United States after the preliminary application through the American Dental Association is completed. Each applicant may only take the test a total of three times before having to ask special permission to take the exam again. After taking the exam you must wait 90 days before repeating it

The DAT is comprised of 4 sections:


  1. The Survey of Natural Sciences
  2. The Perceptual Ability Test (PAT)
  3. Reading Comprehension Test (RC)
  4. Quantitative Reasoning Test (QR) .


During the first section of the DAT, the Survey of Natural Sciences, test takers are given 90 minutes to answer 100 questions (40 Biology, 30 General Chemistry and 30 Organic Chemistry). In the second portion of the DAT, the PAT, test takers are given 60 minutes to answer 90 questions. An optional 15 minute break is than given after the PAT. The RC test after the break lasts 60 minutes and is comprised of 50 questions from 3 passages (two science and one non-science). The Final Section of the test is the QR test where testers are given 45 minutes to complete 40 questions. Finally, an optional post test survey is given with a 15 minute time limit.


Below is a table showing the different sections of the DAT.





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To Wear or Not to Wear? What you should wear to the Interview.
A Step-by-Step Guide on singing up for the DAT


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